I was served a version of this dish at a neighborhood restaurant in Milan last fall and was completely smitten with it. It provided the comforting, belly-warming satisfaction a chilly night calls for, and it charmed me with the rustic-chic elegance that came from pairing chickpeas with farro, an ancient variety of wheat that is officially on trend these days, I'm happy to say.
4 servings (makes 6 cups)
3 cups cooked or no-salt-added canned chickpeas (from two 15-ounce cans; drained and rinsed)
31/2 cups no-salt-added chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium carrot, scrubbed, then diced
1 rib celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
One 14.5-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
1 sprig rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup pearled farro
2 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves, chopped
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1. Combine 1 cup of the chickpeas and 1/2 cup of the broth in a blender and blend to form a smooth puree.
2. Heat the oil in a medium soup pot over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion, carrot and celery; cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened but not browned.
3. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the remaining 2 cups of chickpeas, the remaining 3 cups of broth, the tomatoes and their juices, the rosemary, salt and pepper, stirring to incorporate. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes.
4. Add the farro and increase the heat to medium-high; once the mixture returns to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the farro is tender, about 20 minutes.
5. Discard the rosemary sprig. Add the chickpea puree, then stir in the spinach and cook for 1 or 2 minutes, until just wilted.
Serve hot, garnished with the cheese.
- From nutritionist and cookbook author Ellie Krieger.